In case you cannot tell from the title, today’s throwback will involve River Country and Discovery Island, both “attractions” which were not simply closed, but abandoned. Which makes it extra sad and depressing. Happy Thursday!
River Country - OK, I’m not going to lie, my memories of River Country are very limited because I had only been there once, but I’m bummed I’ll never get to give it a second chance. Why did I only get to go there once when I went to WDW pretty much every year? Because, my mom would never want to go back. You know how on the water slides where you sit on a tube, you go side to side and you wonder how you don’t flip over? Well, my mom flipped over. Thus endeth River Country for us.
River Country opened in 1976 and was designed to be an “old fashioned watering hole.” It had man made boulders and sandy bottom pools and was designed to make you feel like you walked into the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The official version of the reason for closure was the park declined in popularity, when you had Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach with more “thrilling” water rides. Then, there’s the “brain-eating amoebas”. River Country used water which was filtered from the lake, which was said to have contained, you guessed it, brain-eating amoebas. Fun! The lack of popularity is the more likely reason, but the fact that the park was just abandoned and has been since closing in 2001 (officially declared in 2005), is a little odd. Why had Disney done nothing with the space?
Discovery Island – Speaking of creepily abandoned instead of demolished and/or replaced by something else, we have Discovery Island! Discovery Island was the Animal Kingdom before there was the Animal Kingdom. OK, it didn’t have lions or elephants or tigers or anything, but it did have animals! It opened in 1974 and was were you could observe wild life. In fact, it was the last known home of the dusky seaside sparrow, which, unfortunately, is now extinct. The majority of the animals that were there were birds (at least from what I remember). When the island closed, all the animals were relocated to the Animal Kingdom, which I’m pretty sure won’t be abandoned. Again, odd that Disney had done nothing to this area except left it as it was since it closed in 1999. There were rumors of development projects, but nothing ever came of them. Sad.